Alternative names: Common Chough; Cornish Chough
- Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
38 - 41cm (15-16 in). A medium-sized corvid.
- Red bill which is relatively long, slim and gently decurved
- Red legs, rather short for a corvid
- Relatively small head
- Plumage glossy blue-back, glossed greenish on wings and tail
- Broad, fingered wings prominent in flight
Sexes similar. Juveniles have duller plumage and dull orange bill.
Can be confused with Yellow-billed Chough if bill is not seen. The broad wings with the distinctive fingers are typical for Red-billed Chough.
There is also an isolated population in the Ethiopian highlands.
Locally common. Has declined in part of its range, especially in Europe.
Hybrids with Yellow-billed Chough have been reported.
Eight subspecies accepted:
- P. p. pyrrhocorax in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England
- P. p. erythroramphos from Portugal to Spain, France, Switzerland and Italy
- P. p. barbarus in northwest Africa (Algeria and Morocco) and the Canary Islands
- P. p. docilis from the Balkans and Greece to Turkey, the Caucasus, the Middle East, Iraq, Iran and Turkmenistan to Afghanistan
- P. p. centralis from the northwest Himalayas northeast to Mongolia, parts of China and to Russia
- P. p. himalayanus in the Himalayas east to Bhutan and northeast India. Also in southern China
- P. p. brachypus in north and east China
- P. p. baileyi in Ethiopia
Coastal cliffs and high mountain pastures. Up to 6000m in the Himalayas and reported at 7950m near Mount Everest.
Diet consists almost entirely of insects and terrestrial molluscs, including craneflies and beetles
They build their nests in crevices of caves or cliffs. The nests are constructed from roots and stems of plants such as heather or furze, and are lined with hair or wool. The clutch consists of 3-6 eggs which are laid in April-May in western Europe.
A resident species with some altitudinal movements.
It has a loud, ringing call chee-ow.
- Clements, JF. 2008. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2008. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
- Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507
- Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved March 2017)
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2021) Red-billed Chough. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 9 March 2021 from https://www.birdforum.net/wiki/Red-billed_Chough